Businesses race to replace belly-up ASPs

Faced with the sudden collapse of its e-commerce ASP last summer, Adidas America Inc. was ready to pull the plug on a budding initiative to sell its sporting goods via the Web.

Instead, Adidas raced to find a new ASP and ended up signing on with a company that was able to get up to speed quickly and customize a set of enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications for managing Adidas’s warehouse and retail operations.

“This was a migration for survival. Without it, we would have had to shut down the operation and start from scratch,” said Dieter Schoenegger, chief technology officer at Adidas America in Beaverton, Ore.

Adidas America, a subsidiary of Germany-based Adidas AG, was one of several companies forced to scramble to replace Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Pandesic LLC’s services after it went out of business in August. Now, as the Nasdaq Stock Market continues to suffer and more high-tech firms close their doors, others are finding themselves in the same uncomfortable shoes as Adidas.

Any ASP – indeed, any high-tech start-up – is a likely candidate for rapid demise within its first five years, said Lew Hollerbach, an analyst at Boston-based Aberdeen Group Inc. “About 80 per cent fail,” he said. “It’s still a young industry.”

That’s why it’s always a good idea for companies to have contingency plans in case they need to migrate data or files from their ASPs to their own systems, he said. That could mean using a third-party storage company or safeguarding data on a local server.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Inc., another Pandesic customer, decided to set up its own internal systems after briefly running a storefront on But the process was difficult for all involved, said Chief Operating Officer Brent Cohen.

“It was like driving a car 100 miles an hour and swapping out the engine while the car’s still running,” he said. “It was a disruption, no doubt about it, but we’re doing OK now.”

After Pandesic’s collapse, Portland, Ore.-based eVineyard had to endure the time-consuming process – in the midst of the holiday season rush – of retraining its staff in new shipping and receiving systems that were running on externally hosted ERP appli